The Leon CEOS met for its Oct. 14 meeting at the home of Natalie Morgan in New Haven. Two of the Leon CEOS members live in the New Haven area, Mr. Jerry Morgan and Mrs. Natalie Morgan. Jerry and Billy Barton served dinner.
It has been announced the December meeting will be held at the Leon Town Hall to celebrate the club’s 90th anniversary.
Natalie presented to the CEOS a hand written copy of the history of the founding of the Leon Farm Women’s Club from the archives of her mother, Mrs. Seva Stewart and Lyda Smith. It was a time to reminisce and to look forward.
It was on a Friday afternoon, Dec. 6, 1929 when a group of Leon women met at the home of Mrs. Charles (Effie) Casto and chartered the Leon Farm Women’s Club.
The charter members were Mrs. A. B. (Florence) Burdette, Mrs Frank (Louisa) Edwards, Mrs. Charles (Effie) Casto, Mrs. Allen (Lavenia) Thomas, Mrs. B. F. (Cora) Sommer, Mrs Charles (Kate) Thomas and Mrs. Carl (Lodisa “Desa”) Hayman.
Officers were elected and Effie Casto became the first president. Other officers included Vice President Cora Sommer, Secretary Disa Hayman and Treasurer Louisa Edwards. It was voted at that first meeting to not charge dues for the first year and the meetings were to be held monthly at the town hall at 2 p.m.
The first topic for the January meeting was “line and color in dress” to be led by Florence Burdette. Many of the members were accomplished seamstresses.
Cora Sommer and Disa Hayman were appointed to draw up a constitution and by-laws.
The home demonstration agent was Mrs. Kathleen Stephenson.
The newly formed club met with other Farm Women’s Clubs in Apple Grove, a garden club at Mrs. Stout’s home and farm women at Southside.
Their first fundraiser was held in August 1930 when the members raised funds for the Red Cross; sewing clothes for needy people in the district and sponsored the first 4-H club, bible school and holding health clinics at the Thomas Hall.
The club members attended a party given by the Civic Club in Point Pleasant and held a party for the 10 school teachers of the Cologne District.
Mrs. Stewart reported the Leon Farm Women members, later to be the WVU Extension Homemakers, have participated in many worthwhile community improvement projects and were awarded second place by the West Virginia State Chamber of Commerce for their long-term outstanding projects.
The club membership increased in number throughout the years and have participated in the school bond passage and other projects. Supporting the preservation of the Leon area cemeteries has been encouraged.
Additional members were added to the club including Miss Carrie Beaver, Mrs. Perry Sayre, Mrs. Pat Wilson Jr. Mrs. Mae Bailes, Mrs. Myrtle Buck, Mrs. Henry Upton, Mrs. Mary Agnes Upton, Mrs. Ernest Rairden, Miss Katherine Beaver, Mrs. Warren Stewart, Mrs. George Rairden, Mrs. Juanita Burdette, Mrs. Dianna Buck, Mrs. Fannie Douglas, Mrs. Phil Thomas, Mrs. Helen Cossin, Mrs. Gerald Sayre, Douglas Beaver, Linda Stewart, Mrs. Alan Thomas and Mrs. Phil Thomas, Gus R. and Anna Lee Douglas, Lois Shinn, Louella Keefer, Donna Moore, Evalee McKinley, Helen Lyons, Mrs. Virgil Scantlin, Miss Lillian Geenlee, Mrs. Mayes, Mrs. Linda Simpkins, Stella Morgan as well as others whom the present members are hoping to identify before the 90th anniversary celebration in December.
With the volunteer assistance from the club members, progress has been made in establishing the water and sewage system, the volunteer fire department and the Leon Town Hall with the help of the town’s leadership.
In 1972, the club and town’s people celebrated the Leon centennial honoring the incorporation of the town.
The Leon Town Hall, according to Mrs. Stewart’s report, was accomplished without government help. There were auctions, socials, the sale of articles and donations.
The club members have never incurred debt.
“We built as we had the money to pay and it was nine years before the process of the town hall was completed. The donation of the property was the result of a donation by Charlie and Inez Williamson Stone and other Henry Clay Williamson heirs.”
In recent years, a grant was obtained to upgrade the appliances at the town hall. The Leon CEOS is continuing what the original Farm Women’s Club set out to accomplish, improvement to community and families and the individual members. At Tuesday’s meeting in Mason, reports were received of volunteers who assisted at the Mason County Fair, an ongoing project, assistance to local schools for supplies and clothing. Updates on the quilt show, Fall Achievement Day, fundraisers for cancer research, holiday workshops, Folk Festival Belle reception, attendance of the area informational meetings for the highway improvements and other activities will be announced.
Submitted by Zara Click.